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The Playbook: Introduction to Educational Research

SDS 5624 Fall 2014

Kellie Gerbers

on 30 September 2014

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Transcript of The Playbook: Introduction to Educational Research

Introduction to Educational Research
The Playbook
or Qualitative?
research is concerned with data
that can be measured numerically.
Explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analyzed using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics)."

Aliaga and Gunderson (2000)
Examples of Quantitative Methods

Intervention / non-intervention
Correlational approaches
Document analysis
(Hohmann, 2006; Berry, 2005)
Qualitative research
, on the other hand, seeks a broader outcome --
describing, exploring, understanding phenomena
Participant observation
Interviews and focus groups
Document analysis
Ethnography & photo-ethnography
Oral history
Journaling, time-logs
Examples of Qualitative Methods





Whole picture




Type of Research
True or False?

Quantitative research is objective.
Qualitative research is subjective.
The Research Question
& Proposal
Your research question(s) will
determine your methodology.
The SCUBA Diver
The Genie
The Rock Star
"If I want to explore student behavioral tendencies at concerts..."
Research questions stem from an
existing problem or lack of knowledge in a specific area.
research proposal
generally contains:

Statement of the problem
Purpose of research
Significance of research
Research question(s)
Proposed methodology
More advanced proposals (e.g. IRB applications, grants) may also include information pertaining to budget, personnel, and supporting documentation.
Research question / proposal
Quantitative or qualitative?
Oral history
Getting started
Analytic tools
Validity / reflexivity / generalizability
Discussion / Q&A
Topics Covered
Comparing Approaches
Oral History
Oral history is a both a
field of study
and a

Oral history involves the

gathering, preserving and interpreting

voices and memories of people, communities, and participants
in past events. (OHA, 2014)
Oral history is
folklore, gossip, recorded speeches, etc.

Oral history
requires interaction
between the interviewee and interviewer.

Historians should attempt to
analyze and verify
their findings.
What distinguishes oral history from any other qualitative interview?
Oral history is concerned with the stories of

The historian attempts to get the interviewee to speak expansively about his/her
personal memories.
Oral histories are typically preserved in the form of a typed transcript and audio recording and
submitted to an archive.
Oral histories are not concerned with anonymity--quite the opposite, in fact.

Consequently, different legal permissions are required. Interviewees must sign over their story via
Deed of Gift
. They may place certain restrictions on what parts of the oral history may be used, and with what audiences it may be shared.
Memories can be faulty
. Historians must do a significant amount of legwork both before and after the interview to
dates, times, and experiences that are shared in interviews.
"And that's how it happened."
Getting Started
1. Identify your research problem.
With "who is the American College Student" as your umbrella, what deeper issues do you want to explore?

Once you identify your issue, brainstorm a few research questions.

Take a few minutes and jot down some ideas.
3. Consider your methodology
Obviously, we are conducting oral histories, but how are you going to recruit participants? What permissions do you need?

How are you going to structure your interviews? What questions will you ask?
2. Explain your problem's significance
Can you defend the value of your research in 60 seconds or less?

Take a few moments and figure out how to articulate the purpose and importance of your research in a clear, succinct fashion.
Suit up!
Most research involving human subjects needs to be approved by a review board.

At FSU, we refer to the board as the Human Subjects Committee (HSC). Other institutions call it the Internal Review Board (IRB).
During your IRB application, you'll provide in-depth details regarding the purpose of your research, and what steps you'll take to protect your research study participants from harm.
At FSU, oral history is not covered under the HSC's definition of research that would require the protection of human subjects.

Consequently, we will not need IRB approval for this project, but will nevertheless still take measures to protect our participants.
Although our oral history project does not require IRB approval, we still take steps to 1) inform and 2) protect our participants through
informed consent
and a
deed of gift

Informed consent
- explains the purpose and procedures associated with research

Deed of gift -
the participant authorizes the researcher to use his/her oral history as the interviewer sees fit. The participant may place restrictions on how the oral history is used.
For this oral history project, we are going to employ NON-RANDOM sampling.

Types of sampling techniques:
Simple random
Purposive (Judgemental)
Constructing interview questions is more difficult than what you may think.

Ask open-ended questions. Start simple and move toward increasing complexity.

Be flexible. You are more concerned with what the participant remembers and feels about an experience than you are about sticking to a script.

Be prepared to ask clarifying and follow-up questions.
Depending on your "common-identifier" for your study, you should select the sampling technique that works best.

Once you've identified HOW you'll recruit participants, you'll need to create a phone or email script.
Recruiting participants
IRB Approval
IRB Application
Oral History and IRB
Protecting Participants
Interview Questions
If we were to interview Barney about his experience with "The Slap Bet", what would be valuable questions?

What ethical considerations apply to oral histories?
4. Conduct the interviews
Before interview:
Discuss the informed consent document and have the participant sign
Explain deed of gift

During interview:
Audio or video record--redundancy is key!
Take observation notes as necessary, but don't miss out on content

After interview:
Have participant sign deed of gift
Describe analysis process
Explain follow-up (will they receive a copy?)
Several phases of analysis occur with qualitative data. You'll record relevant observations in
analytic memos throughout the research process.

The first phase happens
during the interview
. You should constantly assess and re-assess the stories you hear, verbal/non-verbal cues, your own emotions, etc.
Ask questions / make comparisons
Explore meanings of words/phrases
Use personal experience
Consider emotions
Look for words that indicate "time"
Think in terms of metaphors/similes
Look for contradictions
Wave the "red flag"
(Evensen, 2000)
Analytical Tools
Usually two (or more) phases of coding occur.

Primary code
all raw data (transcripts, notes, pictures, documents). Primary coding is concerned with
(who, what, when, where, etc.).

Secondary coding is thematic
. Look for patterns in the descriptive codes. Construct overall themes. Consider underlying influences of
: (what’s working? what isn't?)
New/modified data collection plan

Emerging thoughts / fleshing-out hunches
Patterns, repetition, (in)consistency of data
Empirical and rhetorical questions to ask

Researcher influence on study
Identification of own beliefs, biases (data & analysis)
Efforts to improve validity
Analytical Memo
Can take the form of a flow chart, bullet points, reflective essay, matrix, etc.

May be used to help develop eventual coding scheme.

Memos are extremely important to help support the validity and reliability of qualitative data.
Analytical Memo
Transcribing interview tapes involves transferring audio recordings to a typed, document format.

Don't paraphrase an interview transcript. Every word, verbatim, must be included, including "um", "like", "ya know", unfinished sentences, etc.

Most word processors can add "line counts" to make coding your transcript easier.

Transcribing correctly takes a long, long time.
Validity and Reliability
All research has limitations and biases. As a researcher, you have an ethical obligation to minimize these limitations as to increase your study's overall validity and reliability.
Validity and Reliability
Qualitative and quantitative approaches differ in their methods for assuring validity and reliability.

For this project, we can focus on
member checks
triangulation (multiple data sources)
, and

Internal Generalizability
Does your conclusion apply to the entire group under study, or is it peculiar to a specific sub-group, setting, time, etc.

External Generalizability
Rarely explicit, perhaps unimportant
An emergent theory may be applied elsewhere
Up to the reader, not author, to determin
does not apply to oral history
Researchers should be “constantly self-conscious about their (the researcher’s) role, interactions, and theoretical and empirical material as it accumulates.

As long as qualitative researchers are reflexive, making all their purposes explicit, then issues of reliability and validity are served” (Delamont, 1992, p. 8).
We don't want to pursue research on problems to which we already know the answer.

Generally, your
research problem
will be
, whereas your
research questions
will be more
Once you have your general research problem in mind, you can start investigating what
previous research
has taken place on your topic.

After your
review of the literature
, if you establish that more research is needed on the topic, you can start drafting a
research proposal
Be aware of your own interests, beliefs, attitudes, focus, and bias!
SDS 5624 | Fall 2014
Session 6

Next Steps
Formulate your research proposal (due next week).
What is your "common identifier"? Why did you select it?
How will you identify and recruit participants?
What potential secondary sources will you use?
What is the value of these students' oral histories within the larger body of knowledge concerning college students? How might their histories challenge general portrayals of college students?
Let's consider the following event.
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